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Cold & Flu in Children: Symptoms, Causes & Relief

  • A cold is often called the flu, but they are different infections, caused by different viruses.
  • Symptoms of a cold are generally milder than the flu.
  • Colds usually affect mainly the nose and throat, and the flu tends to make the whole body ache.

If you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms we encourage you to practice good hygiene (washing hands for 20 seconds with warm water, and cleaning between fingers and under nails) and physical distancing to help slow the spread of germs. If you are experiencing symptoms of fever, coughing, sore throat or shortness of breath you should seek medical advice from a doctor (including pathology testing) and stay at home (not go to school or work).

Signs and symptoms of colds and flu in children

The symptoms for colds and the flu can be similar, but you can keep an eye out for the following symptoms and monitor how they develop in your child. The symptoms of cold and flu include:


  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Aching muscles
  • Dry cough
  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Loss of appetite


  • A blocked or runny nose
  • A sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughs and sneezing
  • A raised temperature (in infants more so than adults)

It’s normal for a child to have several colds a year, especially during the winter months. Children get more colds than adults as they do not yet have the same immunity to the more than 200 viruses that can cause a cold.

Causes of colds and flu

Colds and flu are seasonal viruses, and are caused by the spread of germs through coughs and sneezes.

How to relieve colds and flu

You can help your child manage some symptoms of a cold without seeing a doctor, but if their symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to contact a medical professional. If their symptoms seem to be more severe day by day, you should also contact a doctor.

Here are some suggestions to help your child through colds and flu:

  • Always keep warm
  • Get rest and sleep
  • Give medicine such as ibuprofen to help lower your temperature and to relieve any pains and/or aches
  • Drink enough water

To minimise the risk, you can get the flu vaccine from your GP before the start of the flu season to reduce your risk of contracting flu and/or spreading it.

Why Ibuprofen can help

Ibuprofen helps to relieve pain and fever associated with colds and flu without causing drowsiness. There are also tablets, caplets and liquid capsules available.

Why Nurofen For Children can help your child

Nurofen for Children comes in different formulations for children of different ages (from 3 months of age). It helps to temporarily relieve pain and fever and can be taken either as a liquid suspension or a soft gel chew.

When to seek medical help

See your doctor if your child has cold and flu symptoms and:

- they have a medical condition

- you are concerned for any reason

- they are showing signs of severe illness, including poor feeding, dehydration and difficulty breathing.


This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.


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